Finally remembering Falkirk’s ‘forgotten fallen’

A community came together to pay tribute to the district’s ‘forgotten fallen’ in a poignant ceremony.

Almost a century after Falkirk’s war memorial was first unveiled it finally bears the names of all those who laid down their life for their country in two world wars.

Unlike many other cenotaphs up and down the country, the Falkirk stone which was unveiled at its site in Dollar Park on the Camelon Road in 1926, did not individually name all those who died.

Two decades later when more Bairns had made the ultimate sacrifice after the conflicts from 1939-45 there was still no move to honour them in stone.

But more recently there was a growing feeling that the time was right to correct that omission from years before.

Although many quickly came on board to support the project, the initial idea came from Falkirk’s former provost, Councillor Pat Reid.

On Sunday morning, he was joined by other members of the Friends of Falkirk War Memorial he initiated, councillors, old soldiers, Armed Forces members and cadets, schoolchildren, relatives of those finally named on the memorial and members of the community for a service of rededication, led by the Reverend Robert Alan of Falkirk Trinity Church.

The £125,000 project saw the memorial extended to include two new sandstone pillars erected – brought from the north of England and selected to match the original stonework.

Four granite panels, imported from India, now bear the names of the 1193 men who died in World War One and 461 men and two women who died in World War Two.

The memorial can now also be reached from within Dollar Park making it easier for people to read the long lists of names.

Speaking at Sunday’s dedication service, Provost Billy Buchanan said this had been a community effort to right what many saw as a historic wrong.

He said: “Preserving our war memorial heritage is vital to ensure that their sacrifices are not forgotten, and the events in which those remembered participated are recognised. Educating young people about war memorials is vitally important, to ensure they, tomorrow’s custodians, understood what they represent and continue to preserve them for future generations.

“My friends, this is a day of great pride and of deep humility – pride that such men as these were bred in our midst, humility as we bow before their heroism.

“To you who are closely related I would express this thought – they died in their youth and went to God in their youth.

Rededication of Falkirk War Memorial on Sunday, November 3. Picture by Michael Gillen.

Rededication of Falkirk War Memorial on Sunday, November 3. Picture by Michael Gillen.

“Today, we have done what needed to be done for the Falkirk Fallen, whose bodies lie in peace in some foreign lands are no longer nameless.

“To the many, it is with great pride and respect that we can now say ‘Their Names Liveth Forever More’.”

On the Friends committee with Councillor Reid, were former architect Morris Robb who chaired the group, historian Ian Scott, businessman Douglas Cameron, Tom McMorrow of the RAF Air Cadets, Major Jim Bain, Provost Buchanan, and councillors Gary Bouse and John Patrick.

Mr Robb said: “It’s great to see the war memorial sensitively extended. I hope the families of those who died will find some comfort from what we’ve done here.”

Support also came from Falkirk Council, the Friends of Dollar Park and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders’ Association, as well as many individuals, including Gillian Gardner from Falkirk Trinity Church and Clare Mennim.

The main contractor was CAMS Construction Scotland, based at Redding Industrial Estate.

Rededication of Falkirk War Memorial on Sunday, November 3. Picture by Michael Gillen.

Rededication of Falkirk War Memorial on Sunday, November 3. Picture by Michael Gillen.

Also involved were Quality Masonry Services of Dalderse Avenue, Falkirk Stonemasons of Bankside Industrial Estate and TBB Architecture of Cockburn Street, all Falkirk. Sterling Precast of Stirling and The Helix Consultancy Ltd of Lenzie were also involved.

The project also had extensive support from Eden Consultancy of Falkirk.

Mr Reid said: “All the firms involved have been fantastic and we thank them for their skills and dedication.

“We wanted to properly remember Falkirk’s Fallen,adding their names on new panels, and making other improvements to the site. We’ve achieved that goal.

“Hopefully people can now visit this memorial and remember the brave souls who left our town and made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Rededication of Falkirk War Memorial on Sunday, November 3. Picture by Michael Gillen.

Rededication of Falkirk War Memorial on Sunday, November 3. Picture by Michael Gillen.